202: Matthew Raithel (Graphite Lab)

Matthew Raithel on Innovation City

“Have options, not obstacles.” -Matthew Raithel

Welcome to Season 7 of Innovation City (The St. Louis Edition), a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency and Aīre Ventures, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Today’s guest is Matthew Raithel, founder and Studio Director of Graphite Lab, a video game development company. Matt has brought some of the most famous brands to life through video games including Transformers, My Little Pony, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Dora the Explorer, and much more. In this episode, Matt sits down with the team to discuss the creativity involved in video game development, challenges in the field, and guidance for aspiring video game developers. 

They discuss:

  • Matt’s Superpower
    • Painfully optimistic
  • Origins of Video Game World
    • He was an 80s kid, he always wanted to do something creative,, allowed him to fuel his artistic side
    • Video games is a tie between technical and artistic.
    • Went to school for computer animation and connected with a start up
  • Significance of Atari
    • Atari was the first video game system Matt ever played
    • Recently they had their first collaboration with Atari
  • Journey of Game Creation
    • It’s kind of akin to graphic design
    • Using software that’s readily available and injecting their creativity into those systems
    • They come up with visuals, story, sounds, etc. 
    • Much more robust head start than they did 20 years ago
    • Year long process to get an idea out and onto a console (game)
  • Favorite game he’s worked on and why
    • Just released, investment from Atari, moving shapes all at once and trying to get them to meet one another, called Kombinera, puzzle game, really minimalistic, shapes
    • When you feature popular brands like transformers, you don’t get to be as creative
  • Challenges 
    • Getting your game out there and rising about the noise, 
    • Getting your game noticed, getting players to choose your game over another is very difficult
  • What have you learned about the process of marketing? (strategies to implement)
    • It’s not just one strategy
    • Traditional marketing, modern marketing (youtube, twitter, IG), 
    • If you’re not building out an entire
  • One thing you’re most excited about going into the next year?
    • The release they just had was their first original release in years
    • They’re going to release another original game, making our own games, that’s the one that has them on fire
  • What advice you would have for someone who wants to be in your position?
    • From a very early age, Matt got his experience playing games.
    • Play games with a purpose, break it down, check out the art, sound, music, code
    • More traditional means, there are higher ed programs in the field, including a program in St. Louis
    • If you’re not at the collegiate level, go out and play some games.
  • How do you define creativity?
    • “Creativity is building something out of nothing or blazing a path that’s not obvious in front of you.” 11:05 
    • “Have options, not obstacles.” 11:15

Lightning Round:

  • A dream I’ve never shared
    • Getting out traveling more
  • The best prank I’ve ever pulled off
    • Convinced his grandmother that his car got totaled and was filling out police report etc, April Fools’ Day
  • I would sell everything I have to be able to….
    • Selling stuff sounds like a lot of work, he’s satisfied
  • Something I’d like to change about the way I deal with conflict is…
    • He needs to be more direct and achieve more clarity
  • When I notice myself getting older, I…
    • That I want to build that legacy, build that generation that comes after me


One word of wisdom…


Get in Touch

Visit the Graphite Lab website 

Follow Graphite Lab on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Connect with Matt on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn